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Anti-Qaddafi Forces Seize Strategic Complex, University In Sirte

Anti-Qaddafi fighters push forward during heavy fighting towards the center of Sirte on October 7.
Forces of Libya's interim government say they have seized control of two strategic areas in the city of Sirte, opening the way for an advance into the city center against fighters loyal to ousted Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

Mohammed al-Fayad, a military leader for interim government troops, said his forces now "control 100 percent" of Sirte's Ouagadougou conference center.

The sprawling rectangular conference building and its concrete bunkers was being used as the main base for Qaddafi loyalists in Sirte.

Another anti-Qaddafi commander in Sirte, Nasser Zamud, said hundreds of his fighters seized positions at the university and at a huge construction site that was meant to be its new campus.

Both advances were reported after the interim government troops shelled the area to force snipers from rooftops in the city.

Libya's transitional leadership has said it will declare the country liberated from Qaddafi after Sirte's capture because it will control all of Libya's seaports and harbors.

Qaddafi supporters continue to hold the desert crossroads town of Bani Walid.

A senior U.S. defense official said on October 7 that NATO chiefs think the fugitive Qaddafi no longer commands his loyalists, who are on the verge of defeat.

compiled from agency reports